Life In Motion – To be a dance agency or not
We held a dance audition recently and announced, “Life In Motion is not a dance agency,” Lynsey Hulme and myself looked at the bewildered dancers faces around the studio.
The fast-paced, ever-changing commercial dance industry requires a constant ear to the ground. Discussions after arguments after heated debates were had over several months while we researched the dance production market to decide which direction to take JK Dance Productions, the soon-to-be Life in Motion.
Did we want to be an influencer? Disruptor? Market leader? Did we want to blend in or be a big player in a noisy market-place? What we were clear about is that we wanted to offer great quality work, creative dance and movement solutions to our clients.
When it came to dancers & choreographers, we needed to re-think the way they are employed. We talked to lots of dancers, choreographers and creatives asking some brutal questions. What did they think of us and the way we worked with them? What makes their job easier? What generates loyalty within the industry? How did they feel about work fee commissions and what does being a dance freelancer or being taken onto a dance agent’s books actually mean to them? And, more importantly, did they understand the difference? (A big thanks to all those who were frank!)
Many people outside of the commercial dance world won’t understand that a commercial dancer employed on TV, music tours, fashion and experiential events doesn’t have sole representation from a dance agent as do actors and models. A commercial dancer is free to work with any and as many dance agencies as they like.
However, many commercial dancers still believe that if we book them for a job, they are on ‘our books’, we are their ’dance agent’ and our sole purpose is to continue to ‘find them work’ on which we ‘take a commission’. Not the case.
At Life In Motion we want the dancers who work for us to feel valued, appreciated, looked after and paid a fair and decent fee. In return, we expect the dancers we hire to be registered as a freelance artist, fully insured, self-sufficient, low maintenance and able to get themselves from A to B on time and with the right kit.
So, just to be clear: Life in Motion is a dance production company who contracts freelance dancers and pays them a fee. We are not a Dance Agent who finds you work in return for a commission.
The response from dancers has been really positive so far.